Joseph Guerin serial squatter tries to sell Baton Rouge, Louisiana home for $225K as cops refuse to help homeowners Richard and Kristen Craven as the home is now turned into a drug den.
A squatter who tried to sell a couple’s Louisiana home for nearly a quarter of a million dollars four months ago has been caught breaking into the same house again. Upon posting bail the man was allowed back into the house with police refusing to get involved in what they decry as a ‘civil-matter’.
Joseph Guerin was caught breaking into the ranch-style property in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, earlier this week after owners Richard Craven and his wife Kristen were alerted by neighbours.
It is the second time Guerin has been found in the property, with police saying the matter needs to be addressed through the housing courts.
Police refuse to get involved
Richard and Kristen inherited the four-bedroom, 3,200-square-foot home back in 2022 following the death of Kristen’s parents where the home sat empty. Intending to remodel and sell the home, they paid a visit in April only to find Guerin had broken into the four-bedroom home along with placing all the utilities under his name along with having changed house locks.
Taking squatters’ rights to a whole new level, Guerin had also listed the house for sale for $225,000.
Upon first discovering the unwanted guests, instead of calling the police straight away, the Cravens kept watch of their home, taking note of different people entering and exiting. Richard told WBRZ he suspected the house was being used for more than just sleeping.
‘Drug using, drug dealing, I don’t know if he was renting rooms out to females,’ Richard Craven told the outlet.
When Richard did eventually report the problem to the police he was told it was a civil matter as both the Cravens and the squatters were able to provide documents that ‘proved’ they were the rightful owners. Allegedly Guerin was able to show paperwork claiming he paid property taxes.
‘The police won’t show me what paperwork he has,’ Richard Craven told WBRZ. ‘I’ve told them whatever he has, has got to be forged.’
Rude shock return
Eventually, Guerin was arrested for unauthorised entry and the Cravens discovered how the squatters had gone on to refurb the family home.
Guerin had torn up the carpet and replaced it with tile flooring, moved in with his own furniture, chosen new low-quality countertops and painted everything white, including a window to obstruct views into the home.
‘It was ransacked. Everything was tossed,’ Richard described.
Thinking the matter was behind them, the Cravens received a rude shock when they received a text from a neighbor alerting them that Guerin had returned.
Forced to contend with a housing law loop-hole
Four months later, on 5th September Joseph Guerin had returned just one day after being released from jail. The serial squatter even gave the Baton Rogue house as his address on police paperwork.
Baton Rogue Police once again have been reluctant to help. While Louisiana law does say squatting is illegal, it only protects a person who has possessed the property for 10 interrupted years in good faith and by just title, or for 30 years without title or good faith, meaning it is of little help to the Cravens.
‘I’m not going to let a criminal to go bust in the house and take control,’ Craven told WDRB. ‘It’s just as simple as that. So it’s more than getting control. He’s going. He’s going to go.’